Newcomers to the South African VC are often frustrated by some aspects of our culture. They struggle with the terminology, they find the culture cryptic and arcane, and some things just don’t suit some of them all that well. In part 2 of this series of articles covering a few examples of issues which give the noobs (and then the rest of us) a headache in the local community, we take a brief look at the different kinds of Vampyres you will find in the VC.
Are there different kinds of Vampyres? Why yes, there are. Step right this way, Madam – this way, Sir – mind your hat – and enter the dark room *insert maniacal cackle here*. Too much? Ok, let’s look at it from a clinical perspective, better?
Even those who enter the VC for the first time, as self-identifying Vampyres, find the different categories by which we group ourselves a little confusing, obscure, and hard to understand.
The first type of Vampyre anybody usually thinks of, is the blood drinker or Sanguinarian. Yes, there are a lot of Sanguinarians, or sangs as we are called in the community. Sanguinarians drink blood, whether it is human or animal – although human is usually preferable, and it is believed to be the life-force energy in the living blood which feeds the sang Vampyre.
The most widely known real Vampyre, at least outside of the VC, is the psychic Vampyre, or ‘Psi’, or “psi vamp”. Psi’s will use what is essentially metaphysical skills to siphon off life-force energy from a living creature, a human, an animal, a plant – and absorb it into themselves. There are many different sub-types of Psi Vampryes, including those who feed from ambient as well as elemental energy, such as energy given off in crowds, or from sources such as light, wind, fire, waves, the earth etc.
The next group is the least well known, and possibly even most misunderstood – most likely because they are the least talked about type. These are the sexual feeders, sub-divided into Tantric, Sexual and Eros Vampyres, as well as the Succubae and Incubae. These feed off human sexual energies – and I can tell just from the heatwave from your blushing, that the reason these are not spoken of as frequently as the others, is because of the heavy load of the Victorian or Christian guilt-complexes on your shoulders.
Omnivores are Vampyres who feed using more than one distinct feeding method – in other words, a Vampyre who feeds sanguinely and psychically, or psychically and sexually, or sexually and sanguinely etc. Omnivores are also referred to as “hybrids’, although they are full-blooded Vampyres, in fact the majority of Vampyres identify as being omnivorous, with very few exceptions being able to feed on only one source of energy, or via one feeding method.
Lastly, we have what we call ‘lifestylers’ and ‘larpers’. Lifestylers are people who enjoy the vampire lifestyle – for example, dressing up like Dracula or some other popular fictional vamps on TV or in the movies these days. They look the part of the fictional archetype, might dress in Gothic or Victorian styles, and may even wear clip-on fangs, sleep in a coffin, and so on. Mostly, this is all image, and the average lifestyler is not a self-identified Vampyre and doesn’t need to feed the way Vampyres do. Of course, some real Vampyres also adopt the vampire image, and one particularly famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) real Vampyre vampire lifestyler, is Don Henrie. In the scene, and on many VC forums, you will find that lifestylers are welcome – just as long as they don’t pretend to be actual Vampyres among actual Vampyres.
Larpers are the next group. Larper is a contraction the words ‘Live Action Role Player’, and refers to people who pretend to be vampires as part of a role playing game (or R.P.G.). Perhaps the best-known reference to this would be the World Of Darkness game, Vampire: the Masquerade, which flooded the market with items and ideas based upon interactions with the real Vampyre Community out of New York in the early 1990’s. Larpers can be very annoying if they come onto a forum or other group, thinking they are in a similar role-playing group, when in fact they have just stepped through the looking-glass. Some can be very understanding, and drop the act when their mistake is pointed out. Others don’t understand, or don’t want to – and carry on with the charade, up until they get accused of trolling and get banned. Like lifestylers, many larpers are also actual Vampyres who have interests in gaming, although for them the distinction between reality and role-playing fantasy is quite clear. Larping is generally frowned upon in the VC, and Vampyres who larp tend to blur the lines between what is real and what isn’t, in a way that tends to give people headaches (like the one I have right now from working this out). Generally, like lifestylers, larpers are welcome in many VC forums, just as long as they drop the act at the door. Otherwise, it might end up being a bit messy – there could be blood, and you wouldn’t want that in a chat room full of Sanguinarians.
So there you have it – the different sorts of Vampyre you will find in a typical VC, all bats of a different shade, to coin a phrase. Of course, you also have the Others in the VC, the non-Vampyres. Among them you will find the Donors, therians and weres, witches and mages, non-vampyric lifestylers, larpers and general vampire and Vampyre fans, and the occasional “mundane”. Some groups are for Vampyres only, others for Vampyres and Donors, and others are totally eclectic. Some focus on religious values or teachings, while others are purely social or for mutual support.
Most newcomers to the community, especially those who are Donors or non-Vampyres, still need more clarification about feeding and the role it plays in our identity. Why do we feed the way we do? And why does how we feed seem to define our identity? They may understand the blood drinking, and the source for that seems pretty straight-forward – but many do not understand why Psi Vampyres can take energy from people, but then not be able to get the same energy they need from the earth? Or why sangs need blood, when they “should” be able to get it like Psi Vampyres do. They seem to simplify things to the point where “energy is energy”, like the energy from a 12 volt battery is the same as the energy from the reaction in a nuclear power station. Why the need to get it from another person?
It seems there are different types of energy – whether it is a different frequency, strength, concentration and so on, as well as different sources of energy – all of which would play a role in making the characteristics of that energy uniquely different – and also different methods of collecting or feeding on energy, largely determined by what the source is, and the character of that energy. The energy in a sunflower for example, will be different to the energy in a thunderstorm, and also to the energy in a human body. Looking at it this way, you will see that you need different approaches to drawing on such energy.
As we have now established (in theory at least) that there are different kinds of energy, then it follows that one kind of energy obtained by one method might not satisfy a vampyre who need a different kind of energy, and also that any average Vampyre may not have the necessary skills to obtain that specific type of energy, or that it would satisfy the needs of that Vampyre.
The theory is that all creatures naturally produce enough – or more than enough life-force energy for themselves, while Vampyres do not and have a natural shortage of energy. If we do not replenish or augment this energy, we tend to suffer for it in numerous ways, including fatigue, depression, and physical illness.
Sanguine Vampyres as well as pranic Psi vamps need energy from people (or animals). A different kind of energy feeder might be able to feed adequately
from plants, a storm, or the earth or the ocean – while the pranic psi feeder (psi vamp) and the sanguine might not get what they need from those. So at the end of the day, you have Vampyres who specialize in each type of energy and then manifest differently – and accept the identity of the particular type or category of Vampyre archetype generally accepted within the VC.
Some Donors (particularly sanguine Donors) are often concerned about how much they will need to donate to a Vampyre. Donors to Psi Vampyres also know that there can be such a thing as “over-feeding”, and I know that some Psi Vampyres like to brag about draining people, and sometimes groups of people – particularly those who annoy them – to the point where they collapse or lose consciousness. And yes, this does happen – but not in a genuine Vampyre-Donor relationship, where everything done is consensual and mutually agreed upon. Donors are not ‘prey’ – Donors are the reason why Vampyres don’t need to do things like that, and why they don’t need to suffer on their own.
Sanguine Donors should never donate more than the recommended Red Cross or blood service recommendation (although, unlike the SANBS, most Vampyres won’t turn you or your blood away on account of your race or sexuality) – just on your blood test results. The human body is very versatile, but replacing lost blood cells takes quite a while – and Vampyres can become infected with any diseases you carry, just as easily as you were infected. The same can be said for contact-sexual feeders and Donors. Psi Donors tend to recover faster than sanguine Donors, within a few days or even hours of a feeding, and both are far less likely to catch any blood-borne pathogens. Some Vampyres also donate to other Vampyres, although in my experience, this is done to help friends who are really taking strain due to a shortage of Donors. Most Vampyres are relatively low on energy themselves, especially sangs – but Psi Vamps can recharge virtually at will if they have good access to their source, which is why Psi Vampyres make such good Donors, especially to sangs, at least in my opinion.
It is said that a non-vampyre who loses too much energy can become vampyric too for a short time. This has led to many debates, theories and even arguments about “turning” – or ‘becoming’ a Vampyre. Some say it’s possible, others say it isn’t. Yes, someone whose energy-body is sufficiently drained, will suck the life out of you – but like any finite vacuum, it stops once it is refilled, and all returns to normal. Yes, I do know there are cults and secretive member-only groups around the world claiming that a magickal ritual involving inverted crucifixes, black tablecloths, a bell (and a book about the mystic path of the Vampire, available with a lifetime membership fee at only $300) will somehow make you into a ‘Vampyre’. All I know is, that I have never met a Vampyre who claimed to be ‘turned’ (aside from life-stylers and larpers, of course).